Ways to Give

Help Us Fund Impactful Teen Programming & More With an Annual Fund Gift

A message from Executive Director Jenni Collins

Jalen is a Madison Public Library summer intern. He graduated from East High School and is attending Madison College this fall. He became a Public Library Association Intern, which is funded in part by the Public Library Association as well as by Madison Public Library Foundation donors. Support from the community helps to make Jalen’s internship, and other high school and college internship programs, happen at the library.

Madison Public Library Foundation asks for your support of our neighborhood libraries, and the many services and programs they offer. We hope you will make a contribution online today so that the foundation can continue to expand the programs we fund.

Jalen had two jobs in this summer internship: He learned about being a librarian, and he worked in our Teen Media Academy helping other kids create music and make movies. Learning about being a librarian was surprising, and Jalen’s mentor was Teen Librarian Jesse. Jesse leads many outreach programs, working with high schools, community centers and juvenile detention programs. Jalen was impressed by the role Jesse played outside the library, and calls him an “agent in the community.” Jalen said, “Librarians are superheroes in a public place,” as they are there to help people connect, find resources and feel safe.

Jalen also worked closely with instructor Rob on the Teen Media Academy. As an intern, Jalen honed his skills on videography and photography, as well as marketing a finished project, and these are talents he shared with program participants. Rob is an exemplary leader for the Academy as he “genuinely wants his kids to be successful –he wants his kids to fly!” Rob’s work helped the teens bridge the gap between hip-hop music and social justice, using music to convey concern and problem-solving ideas.

Jalen helped other teens express themselves in the Media Academy. He filmed and produced a music video for a teen sharing her feelings about a major loss in her family. Jalen and another intern James also produced a documentary on housing insecurity in Madison, “Around the Way,” which addressed a social issue of concern to the program’s participants. 

Jalen learned library basics from staff, including how to shelve books, make book displays, and other library etiquette. He visited Washington, D.C., to meet other Public Library Association interns and hear more about the role of 21st century libraries. Jalen is applying to be a page at Madison Public Library and working on his associate’s degree. He hopes to complete his college studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Jalen’s story captures the multidisciplined function of libraries in our community as a place to connect, learn and grow. Sometimes, residents are coming together around books or movies at the library. Sometimes, teens are looking for ways to express themselves through music and video. As Jalen said, his own music is to “spread a message of positivity and peace.” The library offers many programming options for our residents, and library donors help to support a variety of important services including collections, internships and Media Lab activities.

We invite you to make a gift now to Madison Public Library Foundation. Your support makes a tremendous difference in our ability to fund creative programming that is having a profound personal effect on teens in Madison. The foundation is supporting a number of essential programs this year including collections, staff training, technology updates and collaborative media. We hope you will make an investment in our ability to fund the libraries’ efforts to serve the community and its wide variety of needs.

We are not sure if Jalen will become a librarian or a hip-hop artist, but the library is here for him now and in his future.


Jennifer J. Collins

P.S. Did you know you could be a Sustainer of the library? Your monthly contributions go a long way to supporting library programs. Check the “monthly donation” box when you make a gift online.



If you have a donor-advised fund through Fidelity Charitable or Schwab Charitable, you can make a gift directly to Madison Public Library Foundation through DAF Direct.

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